This column is part of Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb. The words and pics are by Debbie Kreuser.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

February 8, 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility - Update February 8, 2010

In my last column, I talked a bit about why it's so great to be a U2 fan or follower. I detailed a bit about the memorable music and awesome stage tours that U2 have given us over the last thirty years.

I went on to describe the great sense of community that exists within the U2 fanbase and of how that sense of community leads many U2 fans/followers into social activism that often is endorsed by the band.

As an example of this, I would like to share my memories of a VERY SPECIAL event that took place two years ago this weekend - the (AUCTION) RED fundraiser for the Global Fund ( spearheaded by Bono and Damien Hirst.


When I first heard of a proposed art auction to take place at Sotheby's in NYC to benefit the Global Fund through (RED), the consumer oriented idea of Bono's to use the marketplace as a vehicle to raise much-needed funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, I thought that it was a brilliant idea and something that could only come from the creative imagination of Bono.

At the time, I was employed in an Art Museum and thus knew a lot about the artists that were a part of (AUCTION) RED from Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons to Murakawa and Damien Hirst. So the idea of combining what I did for a living with my social activism for Africa was just too good to pass up - I had to go to NYC to be a part of this historic event. So I prepared for this trip which I would take with a close friend and went to NYC arriving there on 12 February - two days before the Valentine's Day auction for (RED).

The next day we went to see the (Auction) RED art exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery. We would later find out that we missed Bono and Damien Hirst at the Gagosian for a TV interview by just two hours. At least we knew that they were close by.

The next day was Valentine's Day - the day of the art auction at Sotheby's. It was a bitterly cold day with temperatures falling to near zero degrees but everyone's hearts at Sotheby's were warm with the spirit of excitement for what good would come out of (AUCTION) RED.

There were about a hundred of us as we stood outside the Gagosian watching the celebrities and artists walk into Sotheby's. Guggi and Gavin Friday were there as well as Michael Stipe and Helena Christensen. But it was the arrival of Bono and Ali Hewson which sent a ripple of electricity through the crowd and ignited our enthusiasm.

As the auction was ending, I was desperate to know how much money was raised by (AUCTION) RED. A Sotheby's employee came outside long enough to let us know that $42 MILLION had been raised that night to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa! I was ecstatic and could not hold back my gratitude for all the artists who had donated their art work to benefit the Global Fund.

I expressed this gratitude directly to Damien Hirst as he came out of Sotheby's, virtually unknown by the majority of people gathered there to catch a glimpse of Bono. He was so moved by my sincere expression of gratitude for all that he had done to make (AUCTION) RED the success that it was that he took my Sotheby's bag and drew one of his infamous skulls on it! Then he signed my bag "With Love, Damien Hirst" and quickly escaped the cold night in the warm comfort of his vehicle.

Other notable people that I met that night included Prof. Jeff Sachs who actually was quite personable and friendly and, of course, Bono, who was in a particularly good mood after the tremendous success of (AUCTION) RED.

We would leave NYC the following day after a chance meeting with Bono as he was leaving his place at the San Remo. We knew something good would happen that day as we were walking in Central Park and three little birds flew right in front of us.


These are just a few of the reasons why being a U2 fan/follower is so great. In my next entry in two weeks, I'll share a bit about another way that I support Bono's activities for Africa. Until then, take good care of each other and please continue to remember Haiti with your prayers...and your pocketbooks.

by Deborah Kreuser -

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